The team at FLIR hears about new uses for thermal imaging all the time – and as thermal imaging is adopted by more drone pilots, those use cases will continue to expand.
That’s why FLIR is on a mission to get thermal to more users – and to make it easy to learn. Ezra Merrill, FLIR’s Director of Marketing for OEM and Emerging Markets, says that thermal can provide a totally new and different view of the landscape.
“You are seeing things that most people can’t see,” says Merrill, “and we’re discovering new things every day.”
“It’s like a sixth sense,” he says. “The power that it provides people is really new and interesting – and when you put that in people’s hands, they start trying to figure out what else they can do.”
Randall Warnas, Global sUAS Segment Leader at FLIR, says that even the best known use cases for aerial thermal imaging were developed by experimentation. “What does ‘inspection’ mean?” asks Warnas. “What about bridge inspection, or entertainment ride inspections? These are things nobody knew could be done until somebody tried it.”
“We’ve seen that lives have been saved and money has been saved. People are looking at thermal as the next step in search and rescue, and in drones doing good,” says Warnas. “In Norway, researchers are testing the idea that you can use thermal imaging through snow to view Polar Bears… It’s those unique, out-of-the-box solutions that are so exciting.”
“It’s our job to expose people to the technology,” Warnas says. “And we want people to get to that next step. We are trying to encourage people to take risks, and see what can be done.”
To help their users level up with thermal imaging, FLIR has developed one of the best professional resource libraries in the industry. In addition to training webinars and videos like this one on using drones for emergency services, the FLIR Delta series began season 1 with 12 different videos offering “street truth” for operators on specific professional applications. Next month, the series will begin to add podcasts, as well.
“We’re working with everyone to get thermal in the hands of our users,” says Merrill. “In my mind, thermal cameras are the most useful payload beyond an RGB camera.”
“The biggest thing that we can do is to educate people on what’s possible.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.